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Fri Mar 9, 2012, 12:30 PM

Open Letter to 'Liberal' and 'Nominal' Catholics: It's Your Moment Of Truth



The Freedom From Religion Foundation placed an open letter via a full-page ad in today’s New York Times (page 10, front section) urging liberal and nominal Roman Catholics to “quit” their church over its war against contraception.

http://ffrf.org/news/releases/nyt-ad/

19 replies, 3589 views

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Open Letter to 'Liberal' and 'Nominal' Catholics: It's Your Moment Of Truth (Original post)
cleanhippie Mar 2012 OP
saras Mar 2012 #1
HockeyMom Mar 2012 #2
ButterflyBlood Mar 2012 #7
zipplewrath Mar 2012 #3
cbayer Mar 2012 #4
Silent3 Mar 2012 #11
cbayer Mar 2012 #12
Silent3 Mar 2012 #13
cbayer Mar 2012 #14
Silent3 Mar 2012 #15
cbayer Mar 2012 #16
Silent3 Mar 2012 #17
cbayer Mar 2012 #18
Silent3 Mar 2012 #19
rug Mar 2012 #5
ButterflyBlood Mar 2012 #6
cleanhippie Mar 2012 #8
ButterflyBlood Mar 2012 #9
cleanhippie Mar 2012 #10

Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 01:13 PM

1. I'd rather see a coup myself...I could live with a couple generations of liberation theology

 

As moral as atheists are about a lot of things, there aren't very many who are willing to go serve oppressed people directly under risk of torture and death. Being nuns and priests, they've already got their Darwin awards, what's to lose?

And it's a lot easier to leave liberation theology for freethinking than to leave conservative Catholicism.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 01:13 PM

2. There needs to be a formal, PUBLIC, Petition

They still count as members those who have joined another religion, or no religion at all. If you have been baptized or married as a Catholic, they still will count you are their members. There used to be a way to petition the bishop of your area to formally cut all ties to the Catholic Church, but I read they elminated that a few years ago. Even formal excommunication will NOT severe your ties with them. Why? So they can PUMP THE NUMBERS of their church. Look how many CATHOLICS are being offended in this country. I bet not as many as the bishops think!

You tell me how I can formally cut ties with them, since I haven't considered myself a Catholic for DECADES. Just not going to Mass is not enough.

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Response to HockeyMom (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 10, 2012, 01:10 PM

7. I think most statistics on the number of Catholics in the country do account for this though

There are studies and polls done, and they usually respect the wishes of those who do not wish to identify as Catholic anymore. This graph is a little confusing at first but still pretty interesting:



You can see that the Catholic section has significantly shrunk.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 03:46 PM

3. Tad insulting actually

Probably not a whole lot of things more personal that religion. And really, if I didn't leave after the whole child abuse scandals, leaving over the churches position on birth control probably isn't gonna do it.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 04:03 PM

4. Lol. It's got a cartoon, just like those fundamentalist flyers I keep finding in

the Port-a-lets around here!

Proselytizing is proselytizing.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #4)

Sun Mar 11, 2012, 12:32 PM

11. What's wrong with proselytizing?

My beef with what religious proselytizers proselytize is the substance of their message, not that they're out there trying to spread a message.

Besides, many of those religious proselytizers aren't content to merely try to persuade people with the quality of their message and the examples that they set. They want to impose what they believe, not merely recommend it.

I refuse to go along with the ridiculous notion that the "real" problem with religious fanatics is that they're enthusiastic proponents of what they believe, that somehow one is hypocritical is one fights their raging fire with a moderate flame by also speaking out and trying to persuade.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #11)

Sun Mar 11, 2012, 12:59 PM

12. So right. Proselytizing is just peachy as long as you agree with their message.

Sorry. I would feel the same about a Jehovah's Witness, a Mormon missionary or an atheist.

Don't try to sell me your goods. I'm not interested. This whole "recruitment" thing makes me ill and this ad is no different than any of them.

Same with the billboards.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #12)

Sun Mar 11, 2012, 02:09 PM

13. No, proselytizing is "just peachy" with me whatever the message.

My voicing disagreement with the content of a message is not a disagreement with the right to spread the message or the method of spreading the message.

I'm fine with people on all sides putting up whatever messages on billboards they like.

When people go door to door is a bit more obnoxious and intrusive than some other forms of proselytizing, but since I've gone knocking door to door to promote Democratic candidates and get out the vote, it would be hypocritical of me to condemn that method of communicating a message and promoting a cause.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #13)

Sun Mar 11, 2012, 02:15 PM

14. I would respectfully submit that getting out the vote and trying to convert

people to your religion or lack thereof are entirely different things, but that's just me.

If you are ok with it no matter who does it, then that's all good. My view is that beliefs or lack thereof are personal matters. I hate it when people try to tell me that I need to see it there way. I hate it when people tell me there is "one way" and one way only. And I hate it when someone tells me that if I were truly enlightened I would abandon all theistic beliefs and be one of them.

It's all the same thing to me. I laugh at the billboards and tracts, though, and I laugh at this ad.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #14)

Sun Mar 11, 2012, 02:36 PM

15. If atheists treat religion as an "entirely different" than politics...

...or other matters open to debate, then they participate in putting religion up on a pedestal, a pedestal from which they receive no benefit. Why should I grant believers an advantage or a privileged sanctuary that I don't expect to get myself?

Opinions on all sorts of issues, whether you call them "personal matters" or not, don't form in a vacuum. If you were stranded alone on a remote island since birth you wouldn't magically form the same opinions on religion (or any other matter) that you currently hold simply by purely internal, personal, and private revelation.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #15)

Sun Mar 11, 2012, 02:46 PM

16. Would you then agree that it is ok for someone to go door to door to try and convince

GLBT people to "reform"?

I would say that respecting people's privacy and their right to be who they are is not putting anything except decent behavior on a pedestal. Sounds to me like you have just put yourself in an intellectual corner where you have to be consistent, even if it doesn't make sense.

As to your last statement, I agree completely, but I don't understand the point you are trying to make.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #16)

Sun Mar 11, 2012, 03:23 PM

17. Sure it's OK for people to do that.

And it's also quite OK for lots of other people to slam their doors in the faces of those "reformers", if they, like me, find that "reform" agenda repugnant. I don't feel that I'm in any "intellectual corner" here at all. It makes perfect sense to me to equally accept peaceful promotion of all points of view, both agreeable and disagreeable to me.

Messages on billboards don't invade anyone's privacy. Arguments on DU are not an invasion of privacy. Simply being vocal and trying to be persuasive is not an invasion of privacy.

Door-to-door knocking is a small invasion of privacy, but if we accept that small breech of privacy for some causes but not for others, that's hypocritical. If it's the privacy of the home that's the issue, then the subject matter of politics or religion doesn't make the home any more or less private. If you think the issue being religion amplifies the privacy issue, then that's a privileging of religion in which I will not participate.

The last statement that you agree with is there to point out that, since one's opinions aren't formed in a vacuum, then one has to accept that the opinions of others are necessary source material for the formation of one's own opinions. What's wrong with being vocal about what you yourself believe so that it becomes a more prominent part of the available scope of ideas to which others are exposed?

If persuasive political speeches are OK, why not persuasive religious or nonreligious speeches? If it's OK to tell someone they're wrong for not supporting public healthcare, why would it be intrinsically wrong to tell someone they're wrong for believing or not in God?

I think it boils down to the fact that you "just don't like it" when the subject of persuasive attempts is religion, and you put up with it better when it's politics, but I don't see any consistent position there to which I'd be willing to subscribe.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #17)

Sun Mar 11, 2012, 03:39 PM

18. Good points and I am persuaded to some extent.

I think I am reacting to the rather pervasive attacks by some here on what they call "godbotherers" (or worse).

As long as there is some consistency, I can respect that. But to complain bitterly about billboards, published ads or door to door *salesman* from only one camp seems quite hypocritical to me.

My initial point was that this ad is no different than the Chick comics that evangelicals leave around. Neither really bother me personally, but they are essentially the same thing. And the Chick comics really crack me up, particularly since they primarily leave them in the portable toilets around here.

You are correct that I am much better able to tolerate persuasive attempts regarding politics. It made me remember that I have many friends who absolutely refuse to let me speak to them about politics. Surely they feel the same way I do when the subject comes to religion.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #18)

Sun Mar 11, 2012, 04:24 PM

19. I certainly have my own personal "bothers" too

But I try to make a distinction between the content of a message and the means of delivery. I'd certainly be happier if no one were going around knocking on doors to sell their religion, especially as in the anti-gay example you gave, but when I criticize such people, I'll criticize the content of their message, not their delivery technique.

There might be some gross similarities between the ad in the OP and a Chick tract, but those similarities don't run very deep. There are real conflicts between what the Catholic Church officially supports and what many of its members believe. Those conflicts are easily factually documented. It might not be a fact that the best answer to that real conflict is to leave the church, but the OP ad in my opinion presents a well-formed argument for leaving. The presence of a cartoon hardly dismantles that argument, and the cartoon is not at all pivotal in the argument. It does use humor to point out absurdity, and that's a perfectly valid rhetorical technique.

Chick tracts don't come close to measuring up to that.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 05:22 PM

5. It was thoughtful of them to solicit money while they're at it.

 

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Mar 10, 2012, 01:05 PM

6. Yep, agreed. I have.

I'm still a believer, but I would never be going to a Catholic church. I actually go to an charismatic evangelical church now, but they are left-leaning evangelicals, FAR more liberal than the Catholic church. If such a thing can be more liberal than the Catholic church that says it all. I can't come up with any justification for being Catholic.

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Reply #6)

Sat Mar 10, 2012, 01:23 PM

8. We may have discussed it before, but just what kind of Evangelical Church is liberal?

I would think that the two are mutually exclusive? What separates your Evangelical Church from RW Evangelical Churches?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #8)

Sun Mar 11, 2012, 12:09 AM

9. It's a Vineyard Movement church, a group with a bit of an interesting background

The Vineyard Movement was basically founded by a bunch of outcasts from other evangelical denominations about the time the religious right was starting in the early 80s and was partially founded exactly to escape a lot of the things that now define today's right wing evangelicals. Some of the churches in the movement are still very conservative and fundamentalist, but not all, since it's more of a loose association than a denomination there's a lot of variation, and many have been started by very progressive minded pastors. The one I go to is part of a faction within the Vineyard trying to appeal mostly to younger people (all of the pastors are under 40) and people who wouldn't normally go to church (I certainly fall into both categories), of which hardline fundamentalism is certainly not going to work. Vineyard churches are great at this typically because they have more modern music (and not that crap that makes up most of Christian contemporary either, I know the people in the worship band actually like good music, I've seen some of them at some of the indie and punk shows around here.), and a very casual atmosphere (you won't ever be condemned for how you dress, and the pastor is most likely going to be wearing jeans anyway.)

What separates us from the conservative churches:

-We do allow female pastors and women in leadership, the entire church is ran by a married couple with the wife just as involved in administration, and we do have other female pastors and allow women to preach. (This is true of almost all Vineyard churches by the way, even the conservative ones.)
-We are accepting of GLBT people, and I have seen gay and lesbian couples in attendance.
-We don't put a lot of emphasis on Biblical literalism or things like Young Earth Creationism, which I have never heard brought up. The vast majority of sermons are mostly based on the New Testament, and even the ones from Paul's epistles focus on the things he wrote than the condemning verses the fundies love to bring up (and there's a LOT more in those writings than the stuff you commonly hear.)
-We put a lot of emphasis on helping the poor and social justice and nothing of the right wing "prosperity theology" type teachings, which obviously wouldn't go over well in a congregation that is probably about 3/4 under 35. (This is a common theme even in the more conservative Vineyard churches by the way.)
-Perhaps most importantly we are willing to accept disagreements on this stuff. A prime example is the sermon a few months ago when one of the lead pastors was talking about baptism, and even though this church performs believer baptism and does not baptize babies like most evangelical churches, he did say that if someone was baptized as a baby and they are OK with that, he'll accept that too. However they offered to still baptize anyone who wished to be who was baptized as a baby (I chose to be baptized, but it was entirely my own decision with no pressure.)

The only even close to political sermons I've ever heard were about things like respecting God's creation (environmentalism), why Christians should accept immigrants, and being a blessing to your neighbors regardless of things like race and social class.

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Reply #9)

Sun Mar 11, 2012, 12:08 PM

10. That is really interesting. Thank you for sharing that with me.

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